skip to main content

Title: Electronic-vibrational density evolution in a perylene bisimide dimer: mechanistic insights into excitation energy transfer
The process of excitation energy transfer (EET) in molecular aggregates is etched with the signatures of a multitude of electronic and vibrational time scales that often are extremely difficult to resolve. The effect of the motion associated with one molecular vibration on that of another is fundamental to the dynamics of EET. In this paper we present simple theoretical ideas along with fully quantum mechanical calculations to develop a comprehensive mechanistic picture of EET in terms of the time evolution of electronic-vibrational densities (EVD) in a perylene bisimide (PBI) dimer, where 28 intramolecular normal modes couple to the ground and excited electronic states of each molecule. The EVD motion exhibits a plethora of dynamical features, which impart physical justification for the composite effects observed in the EET dynamics. Weakly coupled vibrations lead to classical-like motion of the EVD center on each electronic state, while highly nontrivial EVD characteristics develop under moderate or strong exciton–vibration interaction, leading to the formation of split or crescent-shaped densities, as well as density retention that slows down energy transfer and creates new peaks in the electronic populations. Pronounced correlation effects are observed in two-mode projections of the EVD, as a consequence of indirect vibrational coupling between uncoupled normal modes induced by the electronic coupling. Such indirect coupling depends on the strength of exciton–vibration interactions as well as the frequency mismatch between the two modes and leaves nontrivial signatures in the electronic population dynamics. The collective effects of many vibrational modes cause a partial smearing of these features through dephasing.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Page Range / eLocation ID:
15503 to 15514
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Excitation energy transfer (EET) is fundamental to many processes in chemical and biological systems and carries significant implications for the design of materials suitable for efficient solar energy harvest and transport. This review discusses the role of intramolecular vibrations on the dynamics of EET in nonbonded molecular aggregates of bacteriochlorophyll, a perylene bisimide, and a model system, based on insights obtained from fully quantum mechanical real-time path integral results for a Frenkel exciton Hamiltonian that includes all vibrational modes of each molecular unit at finite temperature. Generic trends, as well as features specific to the vibrational characteristics of the molecules, are identified. Weak exciton-vibration (EV) interaction leads to compact, near-Gaussian densities on each electronic state, whose peak follows primarily a classical trajectory on a torus, while noncompact densities and nonlinear peak evolution are observed with strong EV coupling. Interaction with many intramolecular modes and increasing aggregate size smear, shift, and damp these dynamical features. 
    more » « less
  2. We detail several interesting features in the dynamics of an equilaterally shaped electronic excitation-transfer (EET) trimer with distance-dependent intermonomer excitation-transfer couplings. In the absence of electronic-vibrational coupling, symmetric and antisymmetric superpositions of two single-monomer excitations are shown to exhibit purely constructive, oscillatory, and purely destructive interference in the EET to the third monomer, respectively. In the former case, the transfer is modulated by motion in the symmetrical framework-expansion vibration induced by the Franck–Condon excitation. Distortions in the shape of the triangular framework degrade that coherent EET while activating excitation transfer in the latter case of an antisymmetric initial state. In its symmetrical configuration, two of the three single-exciton states of the trimer are degenerate. This degeneracy is broken by the Jahn–Teller-active framework distortions. The calculations illustrate closed, approximately circular pseudo-rotational wave-packet dynamics on both the lower and the upper adiabatic potential energy surfaces of the degenerate manifold, which lead to the acquisition after one cycle of physically meaningful geometric (Berry) phases of π. Another manifestation of Berry-phase development is seen in the evolution of the vibrational probability density of a wave packet on the lower Jahn–Teller adiabatic potential comprising a superposition of clockwise and counterclockwise circular motions. The circular pseudo-rotation on the upper cone is shown to stabilize the adiabatic electronic state against non-adiabatic internal conversion via the conical intersection, a dynamical process analogous to Slonczewski resonance. Strategies for initiating and monitoring these various dynamical processes experimentally using pre-resonant impulsive Raman excitation, short-pulse absorption, and multi-dimensional wave-packet interferometry are outlined in brief. 
    more » « less
  3. We report fully quantum mechanical simulations of excitation energy transfer within the peripheral light harvesting complex (LH2) of Rhodopseudomonas molischianum at room temperature. The exciton–vibration Hamiltonian comprises the 16 singly excited bacteriochlorophyll states of the B850 (inner) ring and the 8 states of the B800 (outer) ring with all available electronic couplings. The electronic states of each chromophore couple to 50 intramolecular vibrational modes with spectroscopically determined Huang–Rhys factors and to a weakly dissipative bath that models the biomolecular environment. Simulations of the excitation energy transfer following photoexcitation of various electronic eigenstates are performed using the numerically exact small matrix decomposition of the quasiadiabatic propagator path integral. We find that the energy relaxation process in the 24-state system is highly nontrivial. When the photoexcited state comprises primarily B800 pigments, a rapid intra-band redistribution of the energy sharply transitions to a significantly slower relaxation component that transfers 90% of the excitation energy to the B850 ring. The mixed character B850* state lacks the slow component and equilibrates very rapidly, providing an alternative energy transfer channel. This (and also another partially mixed) state has an anomalously large equilibrium population, suggesting a shift to lower energy by virtue of exciton–vibration coupling. The spread of the vibrationally dressed states is smaller than that of the eigenstates of the bare electronic Hamiltonian. The total population of the B800 band is found to decay exponentially with a 1/ e time of 0.5 ps, which is in good agreement with experimental results.

    more » « less
  4. Photosynthetic species evolved to protect their light-harvesting apparatus from photoxidative damage driven by intracellular redox conditions or environmental conditions. The Fenna–Matthews–Olson (FMO) pigment–protein complex from green sulfur bacteria exhibits redox-dependent quenching behavior partially due to two internal cysteine residues. Here, we show evidence that a photosynthetic complex exploits the quantum mechanics of vibronic mixing to activate an oxidative photoprotective mechanism. We use two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy (2DES) to capture energy transfer dynamics in wild-type and cysteine-deficient FMO mutant proteins under both reducing and oxidizing conditions. Under reducing conditions, we find equal energy transfer through the exciton 4–1 and 4–2-1 pathways because the exciton 4–1 energy gap is vibronically coupled with a bacteriochlorophyll-avibrational mode. Under oxidizing conditions, however, the resonance of the exciton 4–1 energy gap is detuned from the vibrational mode, causing excitons to preferentially steer through the indirect 4–2-1 pathway to increase the likelihood of exciton quenching. We use a Redfield model to show that the complex achieves this effect by tuning the site III energy via the redox state of its internal cysteine residues. This result shows how pigment–protein complexes exploit the quantum mechanics of vibronic coupling to steer energy transfer.

    more » « less
  5. Phenol–benzimidazole and phenol–pyridine proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) dyad systems are computationally investigated to resolve the origins of the asymmetrically broadened H-bonded OH stretch transitions that have been previously reported using cryogenic ion vibrational spectroscopy in the ground electronic state. Two-dimensional (2D) potentials describing the strongly shared H atom are predicted to be very shallow along the H atom transfer coordinate, enabling dislocation of the H atom between the donor and acceptor groups upon excitation of the OH vibrational modes. These soft H atom potentials result in strong coupling between the OH modes, which exhibit significant bend-stretch mixing, and a large number of normal mode coordinates. Vibrational spectra are calculated using a Hamiltonian that linearly and quadratically couples the H atom potentials to over two dozen of the most strongly coupled normal modes treated at the harmonic level. The calculated vibrational spectra qualitatively reproduce the asymmetric shape and breadth of the experimentally observed bands in the 2300–3000 cm–1 range. Interestingly, these transitions fall well above the predicted OH stretch fundamentals, which are computed to be surprisingly red-shifted (<2000 cm–1). Time-dependent calculations predict rapid (<100 fs) relaxation of the excited OH modes and instant response from the lower-frequency normal modes, corroborating the strong coupling predicted by the model Hamiltonian. The results highlight a unique broadening mechanism and complicated anharmonic effects present within these biologically relevant PCET model systems. 
    more » « less